Researchers from Imperial College London have said that using a simple formula at birth may help predict if the infant will suffer childhood obesity in future.
The study involved data from 4,032 Finnish children born in 1986. The researchers also analyzed data from two further studies of 1,503 Italian children and 1,032 US children.
Simple measurements such as a child's birth weight and whether the mother smoked during pregnancy were able to predict the risk of childhood obesity in future.
"The equation is based on data everyone can obtain from a newborn, and we found it can predict around 80% of obese children," said study leader Prof Philippe Froguel from Imperial College London. "The message is simple. All at-risk children should be identified, monitored and given good advice, but this costs money."
The study details appear in the journal PLoS One.